Sunday, November 06, 2011

Cheer(io) the Crow

Nancy gives Cheer a treat...
[Diamond Family Collection]

I recently posted a story about a crow who was raised by humans, and therefore had an unusual relationship with them and the the other residents of their small town. I wondered, did anyone have a photo of him? Turns out, someone did...

Growing up in a farm community it was not common for people to have actual pets.  We had several dogs and one was Dennis’s pet and there were always cats in the barn. 
When I was about 10, Dennis and Mickey Boatz robbed a crow’s nest up at the north farm and came home with three baby crows.  Dennis, Marlys and I adopted them, and kept them in a small wooden chicken cage in the yard.  We hand-fed them a diet of raw liver and dry food.  I named mine “Cheer” because he loved to eat Cheerios cereal. Cheer was the only one that survived.
When he got big enough to fly he roamed the town of Humboldt and actually got to be a pest.  He learned to peck on windows and wake people up as he was ready for food.  Janine Rustad has a photo of him sitting on her playpen and he would steal her food.   So Dad decided we needed to remove him from town. We captured him and he took him back to the north farm and let him go.  I remember being so upset about losing my pet. 
Well, Cheer beat Dad back to town!!  He would sometimes come when I called his name and land on my head.  They are a pretty large bird when full grown so you knew he was sitting on your head. 
I was concerned how he would survive the winter but he met with an accident late that fall and died.   I have fond memories of my pet crow and a summer of adventure in Humboldt. 
Cheer the Crow pays a visit to little Jamie Rustad
[October 1956 - Rustad Family Collection]